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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football finds versatile receiver Morrison

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

After two seasons at Arizona, Richard Morrison’s position on the Wildcats’ football team may finally be set: Mr. Versatile.

Morrison, a dual threat high school quarterback will do everything on the offensive side of the ball in 2012 for Arizona short of kicking the ball and blocking for senior quarterback Matt Scott.

At Royse City High School (Texas), Morrison rushed for an average of 603.6 yards per season, scoring 37 total touchdowns. He also passed for an average of 2,512.6 yards per season with a total of 72 passing scores.

“Richard is pretty important, that’s why I wish he was practicing,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said.

Morrison has been held out of fall practice because of a hamstring injury sustained on the first day, but Rodriguez said he expects him to be back by the end of this week.

“It’s nothing major,” Rodriguez continued. “It wasn’t like if he was a horse, we’d have to put him down.”

“I was disappointed because it was the first day and I’m already missing practice,” Morrison said. “I want to be out there with my teammates.”

Morrison, who was listed at quarterback and receiver in the spring because of a lack of depth at quarterback has switched back to “receiver all the way,” according to Rodriguez, but can still add a wrinkle standing in at receiver in certain offensive packages for the Wildcats.

In Arizona’s spring game, Morrison showcased his numerous talents, passing for 43 yards and a touchdown in addition to his game-leading five receptions for 75 yards and an additional two scores.

“I see myself as Mr. Versatile, but I’ll do anything I can, even if I had to go back to quarterback,” Morrison said. “Until then, my plan is to be a wide receiver.”

His dedication to learning the receiver position, especially after switching to the Rodriguez-run spread-option offense, can only help his progression, says wide receivers coach Tony Dews.

“Richard is a very good football player, a very athletic kid,” Dews said. “He played quarterback, so he has some football savvy and smarts. He’s an older guy that’s played some, so guys look up to him.”

A season ago for Arizona, Morrison caught 22 passes for 201 yards and two scores, averaging 18.3 yards per catch, but his numbers figure to increase due to his speed and as the starting slot receiver for Arizona.

To prepare him for the extra workload, Morrison has been staying “an extra 25 to 30 minutes” after practice “to get my work in,” he said.

In addition to the extra after-practice work, Morrison’s studying has improved.

Gone are the days in which Morrison was competing for the permanent starting role as a quarterback. These days, he’s turned all of his attention to the details of practicing and playing receiver for Arizona once his hamstring heals up.

“I go to the wide receivers meetings,” Morrison said. “I know quarterback, so I don’t need to be at the quarterback meeting. I’m doing wide receiver in practice, so I need to work on that. I’m looking forward to everything and just getting on the field and doing my best.”

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